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Comms chips

The $1 CEO

12:50 PM -- The top executives at Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) are taking $1 salaries for the year. They asked for the change themselves, according to an Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing yesterday. Marvell wouldn't comment on why. It's not hard to guess, though. Marvell stock has fallen about 40 percent since November, and the company is still recovering from the results of an options investigation that wrapped up last summer. Then-COO Weili Dai took much of the blame for Marvell's options transgressions and got demoted to a non-executive job; Marvell's audit committee even recommended she be fired. (See Marvell's Options Drama.) Somewhere amid all of that, there could be some shareholder unhappiness with Marvell's execs, don't you think?

CEO Sehat Sutardja was making $657,000 before the change, and chief technology officer Pantas Sutardja was making $400,000. Dai also requested a $1 salary, versus the $220,000 she would have collected this year. It’s an old gimmick. Cisco CEO John Chambers took a $1 salary for years during the telecom downturn. Of course, Chambers made enough in stock options to buy a South Pacific island, so investors didn't exactly shed tears of sympathy for him. (See Cisco Renews Options Parade.) Likewise, Sehat Sutardja and Dai (his wife) own more than 53 million shares of Marvell, not counting another 20 million owned by a family partnership, according to an October SEC filing. Pantas Sutardja's holds about 39 million shares in a family trust. Somehow, I think they'll be OK.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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